Feltnoter fra mødet med F. C. Polio

 

This post is a direct copy of my personal field notes which I wrote during my time in Sierra Leone. As Danish is my native language, this post will be kept in Danish. (sorry for my international friends who usually reads along) Within the next week a post will be up in English about my encounters with Sierra Leone.

For now – I hope you will enjoy being taking inside my mind as I met my new favorite football team.

F. C. Polio and volunteers from Denmark.
F. C. Polio and volunteers from Denmark.

16. oktober 2016: Fant vs. Fc polio

Første besøg hos FC Polio. Vi blev taget rigtig godt imod da vi ankom til huset, hvor spillerne bor i Waterloo, Freetown. Waterloo ligger godt en times tid fra Fants hus i Freetown.

Vi satte os alle ned i den indre går i huset, hvor Cecilie (co-ceo af fant) fortalte om os, især mig, og forberedte os til kampen. Alle var smilende og imødekommende. Og meget villige til at arbejde med mig.

Alle var klædt om til kampen, så vi fulgtes alle ned til banen. De frivillige fra fant skulle spille imod F. C. Polio, men da de ikke var nok til at udgøre et hold, spillede nogle af F.C. Polio spillerne med på fant holdet. På vejen blev vi fuldt af de lokale, der alle var meget nysgerrige. Banen var noget ujævn, med højt græs i den ene side. Fodboldmålene var træ grene sat sammen, og FC polio medbragte net til målene. Der blev varmet op, og alle grinede, og synes mit kamera var utrolig spændende.

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Kampen begyndte, og jeg blev først og fremmest overvældet over, hvor dygtige og seje de handicappede spillere var. Aldrig har jeg set noget lignende.

Jeg tog en masse billeder, og fokuserede især på de handicappede, der spillede på krykker. Jeg var fuldstændig fascineret over, hvordan de kunne bevæge sig så hurtigt på banen, når de bruger krykker og enten mangler et ben, eller har så deforme ben grundet polio, at de ikke kan gå uden.

Efter jeg havde taget en række billeder begyndte det at gå op for mig, hvor mange tilskuer der egentlig var til stede. Følelserne begyndte pludselig at hobe sig op, og det endte med våde øjne og en enkelt tåre. At se hvordan deres community bakkede op om dem, var noget af det smukkeste, jeg længe har set. Det samme var den store glæde, som sporten spredte. Det var så vildt at se, at publikum – omkring 200 mennesker – var ellevilde, når der blev scoret.

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Ved halvlegen førte fc polio 3-0 over fant, og jeg må indrømme, at jeg var sikker på, at de ville have vundet det hele. Men som sætningen afslører, var det ikke, hvad der skete. Efter halvlegen fik fant udlignet, og endte med at vinde kampen 4-3 efter en straffesparks konkurrence. Straffesparkskonkurrencen var meget ny og usædvanlig for mig. Først og fremmest lå bolden meget tæt på mål, omtrent fire eller fem meter. Herudover samlede hele publikum sig rundt om, gik ind på banen, om bag målet, for bedre at kunne se. Alle de 200 publikummer stod således i en cirkel, hvor målet og den skydende spiller, dannede midtpunkt. Jeg fik taget nogle utroligt flotte billeder, af alle spillerne der skød på mål.

Daniel also known as "Messi" scores at the game.
Daniel also known as “Messi” scores at the game.

Da de endelig blev afgjort at fant vandt kampen, løb alle (særligt børnene) ind på banen med armene i vejret og fejrede sejren. Fant holdet blev omringet små børn, der krammede, hægtede sig fast og ville være venner med det nye vinder hold. Jeg blev selv overrumplet af små børn, som ville være mine venner, og ville have taget et billede af dem selv. Vi stod i nogle minutter og nød fejringen, hvorefter holdet blev samlet, så jeg kunne tage et hold foto. Det blev et utroligt fint billede, hvis jeg selv skal sige det.

Fejring af sejren
Fejring af sejren

Efter holdbilledet tog vi tilbage til huset. Her sagde vi tak for kampen, ønskede fortsat god dag, og bevægede os tilbage til bilen. I bilen var drengene så søde at lade mig sidde foran, hvilket jeg blev uendelig glad for, da vi endte med at sidde i kø i 2,5 time på turen hjem..

Hjemme var alle så udmattede, at vi knap kunne tale med hinanden. Og da jeg ikke havde spillet fodbold, lod jeg alle andre gå i bad først. Heldigvis havde Kim meldt sig til at lave mad, så det skulle vi ikke tænke på.

17. oktober 2016 – min første dag hos F. C. Polio

I dag var jeg tidligt oppe for at gøre klar til mit første møde alene med F. C. Polio. Jeg havde allerede lavet en række spørgsmål, som spillerne skulle svare på, men jeg valgte ikke at påbegynde interviews i dag, men i stedet undersøge deres hverdagsliv.

Vidal (træneren for F. C. Polio) kom og hentede mig ved huset kl. lidt over 10 i morges, da han skulle vise mig vejen ned til deres hus via offentlig transport. De bor i et område lidt uden for Freetown, der hedder Waterloo. Det tager omkring 1-1,5 time med offentlig transport. Offentlig transport hernede er meget spøjst. Der findes ikke toge, og deres busser er noget anderledes end vi er vant til i DK. Busserne er kassevogne, hvor der er blevet indsat bænke i lastrummet, og så vinker man den bare ind til siden, når den kører forbi. Man holder hånden ude, og peger med et antal fingre, der svarer til det antal personer, der ønsker at køre med. Taxaerne fungerer ligeledes, det er ofte private biler, der tager dig med fra a til b. Det virker noget kaotisk, men det er nu egentlig lige til, når man har fanget systemet, og ved hvor man skal til og fra.

F. C. Polio shop
Vidal at the F. C. Polio shop

Vi kom til Waterloo 55, som er knudepunktet tættest på huset, og herfra gik vi ned og besøgte den butik, som fant har stiftet, så de handicappede har et sted at arbejde/være i løbet af dagen. Her hilste jeg på dem, der var på arbejde. Butikken sælger noget af det tøj, der er doneret og kommet hertil via container. Herudover er der to skræddere, der syer og reparerer tøj. Den ene skrædder var gårsdagens dommer ved fodboldkampen, mange talenter i en mand.

Da Vidal og jeg gik ned til huset, fik jeg mange tilråb. Han oversatte dem, og fortalte at det betyder ”hvide kvinde”. Det var ikke negative tilråb, men fyldt med glæde. Når jeg vendte mig rundt, blev børnene generte og glade, og når jeg vinkede smilede både unge og gamle, og vinkede igen. Mange gange blev jeg mødt med ”how are you” og ”hello”.

Da vi nærmede os huset, sad der en flok af gutterne i plastik stole under et træ. Vadal kaldte dem sammen, og vi gik inden for i husets indre gård. Jeg fik med det samme udleveret en fin lilla plastik stol, så jeg ikke skulle sidde på kanten, men jeg valgte nu at sætte mig ned på kanten, for at vise at jeg er lige med dem. Det lyder måske lidt mærkelig, men jeg ville ikke sætte mig i skyggen på min fine plastik stol, når de måtte sidde på kanten i solen. Jeg fik solspotten (og dermed solkyssede kinder) imens Vidal gennede de sidste gutter sammen. Da alle var der, bad Vadal om stilhed og gav tegn til, at det nu var mig der skulle snakke. Den havde jeg ikke set komme, men jeg greb da chancen.

Alahji and Abdul, coach Vidal's son
Alahji and Abdul, coach Vidal’s son

Jeg stillede mig op på min solplads, og startede med at sige tusind tak for, at de bød mig velkommen. Jeg fortalte at jeg skal udarbejde noget materiale for fant, der skal benyttes til fundraising, så de forhåbentlig får lidt flere penge. Denne melding blev mødt med applaus. Ud over det fortalte jeg, at jeg i dag ikke ville lave en til en interviews, men i stedet gerne ville se hvordan de boede, og få et indblik i deres hverdag. Så satte jeg mig på solpladsen, og bad alle fortælle, hvad de hed – men må desværre indrømme, at meget få navne sidder fast i hukommelsen endnu. Håber jeg lærer dem alle meget snart! Jeg spurgte hvordan F. C. Polio begyndte, og Vidal fortalte at han havde startet det på eget initiativ. Jeg blev helt rørt og overrasket over, hvor unik denne historie var. Som tiden gik mødte Vidal og holdet flere med handicap, og inviterede dem til at træne sammen med dem. Først efter noget tid havde Erik og Cecilie set F. C. Polio spille på stranden, og besluttede at hjælpe. Jeg fik desværre ikke fat i alle de konkrete årstal, og missede ligeledes nogle af detaljerne i historien. Deres engelsk har en svær accent, som jeg endnu ikke har lært til fulde. Men øvelse gør mester.dsc_1467

Jeg spurgte om der var nogle af dem, der gad vise mig rundt i huset og gå en tur med mig i området. Alle meldte sig med glæde. Jeg blev vist rundt i alles værelser, og værelses kammaraterne kom stolt hen og lod mig se, hvor og hvordan de boede. Det var sjovt at se, at de har indrettet sig lidt som danske teenage drenge. På alle værelser hang der de samme seksuelle plakater, og billeder af damer med bare bryster. Værelserne var omkring 7-10 kvadratmeter, og der boede mellem to eller tre på hvert værelse, nogle gange flere hvis dem fra byen kom og overnattede. På et af værelserne var det ene hjørne fyldt med en stor stabel krykker, de må have erhvervet sig ekstra.

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En del af spillerne fra F.C. Polio bor fast i huset, andre bor andre steder i byen, men er altid velkommen til at komme og sove i huset, hvis de vil. Som Vidal sagde ”we don’t discriminate, all are welcome in Polio football club”.

Efter rundvisningen i hjemmet begav vi os uden for. Her fik jeg den helt store tur rundt i deres lokalsamfund, community, hvor jeg endda fik hilst på en masse naboer og ekstra mødre. Vidal forklarede mig, at deres naboer elskede dem meget højt, og var glade for dem i området, at naboerne altid kom og så dem spille fodbold, og at de altid var gæstfrie og glade. Hele turen rundt i deres community, blev jeg fyldt af en glæde, og fik en dybere forståelse for, hvordan deres community fungerer. Alle holder af alle, alle passer på alle, alle er hinanden nære, ingen bliver efterladt eller glemt – selv ikke handicappede tidligere polio ofre.

Borgmesteren har skrevet lovene op på "rådhuset", hvis nogle skulle være i tvivl.
Borgmesteren har skrevet lovene op på “rådhuset”, hvis nogle skulle være i tvivl.

Området omkring dem var meget mangfoldigt, der var både babyer og helt ældre mennesker, men alle de der var, havde gang i et eller andet. Jeg fik vist rismarken, der lå bagerst i området, hvor nogle familier dyrker ris. Så blev jeg ledt igennem en masse små pladser omringet af huse, og snore fyldt med vaske tøj. Overalt løb halv nøgne små børn, og vinkede til mig. Tumlinge børn løb rundt, og her mener jeg børn mellem tre og seks år, og var meget nysgerrige over hvem den meget hvide dame var. Da de så mit kamera begyndte de at sige ”photo photo, snap me”, og smilede med hele kroppen, når jeg holdte kameraet op foran øjet, og tog et billede af dem.

Det var et helt artilleri af gutter, der viste mig rundt med Vidal og Hasan i spidsen. Terrænet hvor de bor, er meget kuperet og jeg blev hurtig imponeret over, hvordan de sprang over kløfter og stejle bakker, til trods for der manglede et ben, eller benene var stærkt deforme grundet polioen.

Da omvisningen var over, og vi atter var vendt retur til huset, tog vi nogle plastik stole med ud, og satte os i skyggen af et træ. På daværende tidspunkt var min t-shirt noget nær gennemblødt af sved, og min BH var utvivlsomt gennemblødt. Ligeledes havde jeg fået dagens mængde afrikansk sol på både arme, kinder og pande. Det overrasker mig dagligt, hvor stærk solen er her i Sierra Leone. Som vi sad der på hver vores plastik stol Videl og jeg, begyndte nogle af de andre gutter og komme hen, for at snakke med os. En af gutterne, hvis navn jeg endnu ikke har lært, klatrede op i træet, til trods for at han mangler en arm fra skulderen af. Hvordan han kom op, så jeg desværre ikke. Imens vi sad her blev der snakket om alt mellem himmel og jord, blandt andet kom en sjov historie frem, hvor Vidal fortalte om Hasan. Hasan er er åbenbart den, kvinder skal ringe til, hvis de ikke kan blive gravide, meldte historien. Alle, inklusiv mig selv, synes det var enormt morsomt, og vi grinte alle sammen. Det er virkelig nogle gode gutter.

En af gutterne, hvis navn jeg også har glemt, havde bedt Cecilie om noget bandage, da han store problemer med en deform skulder, arm og ben. Polioen har ramt ham voldsomt. Jeg havde derfor haft en pakke bandage med til ham, men så snart Vidal så det, skulle der deles med alle. Alle kom og fik en lille rulle bandage, da ingen skulle snydes. Alle er lige meget værd, og skal alle have det samme. Jeg var egentlig ret imponeret, men fik samtidig lidt om af ham, der i første omgang virkelig havde brug for den forbinding til hans hånd. Heldigvis giver Cecilie mig noget mere med i morgen.

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Hjemme hos Vidal

dsc_1471 dsc_1473Da vi havde siddet og snakke lidt, spurgte jeg Vidal, hvor han boede, og han gik med til at vise mig det. En af gutterne fulgte med os på sine krykker. Vidal bor tæt på gutternes hus, i sit eget fine lille blå hus. Huset har tre værelser; et entre værelse, hvor der hænger et flag fra Aabs fanklub for børn ”bullerbassen”, og hvor der var placeret tilfældige stole ved endevæggen. Rummet havde to billeder hængende af Vadal, hans kone og deres tvillingebørn. Til højre for entreværelset ligger børneværelset/opbevaringsrum. Lige nu lå der en masse ting i bunker, og der var ingen seng. Vidal forklarede at det var fordi, han havde ryddet op og lufter madrassen uden for. I værelset til venstre for entreen ligger soveværelset. Her lå en halvandenmandsmadras på gulvet, overdækket med et blåt myggenet. Ved siden af madrassen lå et par kufferter med tøj, og nogle plastik spande med tøj. Huset havde hverken køkken eller toilet, end ikke i ”afrika-versionen”. Der stod dog tæt på huset et ”toilet” – et hul gravet i jorden, og rundt om var et stykke presenning bundet rundt om nogle pæle, hvilket skabte et ”rum” rundt om hullet, så man kan klare sine toiletbesøg i fred.

Da jeg havde set hans hjem, var jeg mættet for indtryk. Det var dog ved at være madtid, og Vadal var så sød at spørge, om jeg ville spise med. ”Heldigvis” er jeg vegetar, og måtte takke nej, da deres mad havde fisk i. Jeg ville heller ikke kunne lide at spise deres mad, da Vidal fortalte, at de kun har råd til et måltid om dagen. Men jeg gik med ind i husets indre gård, og så hvad de skulle have. Der blev båret en plastik beholder ind, jeg ville definerer det som en opvaske balje, og den var fyldt med ris og en (rent ud sagt) mærkelig grøn masse, som eftersigende skulle være en form for fiskesovs. Nogle af gutterne satte sig rundt om den, og tog deres ske frem, andre gutter satte sig efter at have skyllet hænderne i vand fra den nærliggende brønd.

Fælles spisning
Fælles spisning

 En anden beholder, en gryde, blev båret hen i den anden ende af gården, hvor resten af gutterne samlede sig omkring. Så blev der spist, enten med ske eller hænderne. Og de var meget ivrige efter at få taget billeder, imens de spiste. Da jeg havde fået mine billeder, spurgte jeg Vadal om vi kunne tage op til shoppen og tage nogle billeder, og om han efterfølgende var klar til at følge mig hjem ad. Vi tog op til shoppen, jeg fik mine billeder, og vi fik købt nogle brød med hjem til mig. (Jeg har nemlig planer om, selv at medbringe min frokost i morgen.) Turen hjem var lidt hektisk til at begynde med, da det er utroligt svært at finde ud af, hvilken bus man kan tage hjemad fra Waterloo 55. Men da vi kom ind i en bus, viste det sig at det slet ikke var svært, men Vadal havde været kræsen med bussen, da jeg skulle have en behagelig plads hele vejen. Han er virkelig betænksom over for mig. Ved Jui Junction (knudetpunktet på vejen til og fra Waterloo 55) skulle vi skifte fra bus til taxa, og fandt relativt hurtigt en. Men det var forvirrende for mig, Vadal blev overrumplet med mennesker, der ville tilbyde ham taxaer. Han forholdte sig dog totalt i ro, og inden for et minut sad vi i en fin taxa sammen med to lokale kvinder, og var på vej hjem. I taxaen snakkede vi ikke rigtig, men han nåede dog at fortælle mig, hvad brød hed på deres lokale sprog, og da jeg forsøgte at udtale det, grinte kvinden ved siden sødt af mig. Det var nu enormt hyggeligt. En dejlig tur hjem. Er dog ikke endnu helt tryg ved, at gøre det selv. Så jeg bad Vadal komme og hente mig igen i morgen, hvilket han gerne ville. (heldigivs da!)

Hjemme igen fik jeg hurtigt lavet mig noget mad, tog et bad og påbegyndte nærværende feltnoter. Intet af denne gode dag, skal glemmes

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18. oktober 2016 – første interviews.

I dag kom Vidal og hentede mig kl. 10, og vi tog sammen ud til Waterloo. I dag følte jeg mig meget mere tilpas i den offentlige transport, og følte næsten ikke at jeg havde brug for ham – selvom det nu var meget rart at han var der. Det tager lidt over en time at komme derud.

Vi besøgte først shoppen, da to af spillerne, jeg skulle interviewe, ventede der. Så tog vi sammen ned til F. C. Polio huset. Endnu en gang blev der råbt ”hvide kvinde” efter mig imens folk vinkede smilende. Vejen ned til huset, vil jeg ikke definere som en vej, men nærmere kuperet terræn. Det kunne måske blive en fed mountainbike bane. Det er tæt på umuligt for biler at køre der, grundet alle bakkerne. Da vi kom frem til huset sad der et par af gutterne ude foran huset, under det store træ. Vi fik hentet et par plastik stole, og en skammel jeg kunne bruge som bord. Og så var interview pladsen ligesom lavet. dsc_1470

Første interview person var holdets kaptajn Alhaji. Jeg fortalte ham at jeg under interviewet ville stille en række forberedte spørgsmål, og at jeg gerne ville have det optaget. Derefter ville jeg tage to billeder af ham, et i fuld figur så hans handicap kunne ses, og et som portræt. Det var han helt med på. Han fik min telefon i hånden, og snakkede direkte ind i den under hele interviewet – hvilket er skønt, da hans accent (ligesom alle de andre spilleres) er meget kraftig, og kan være svær at forstå til tider. Interviewet gik helt fint, og han svarede på alle mine spørgsmål, og lod til at forstå alt hvad jeg spurgte om. Da jeg havde fået svar på alle mine spørgsmål, ville han gerne selv sige tak for Fant og for Erik og Cecilie.

Da jeg spurgte ham om, hvad han ville have, hvis han kunne få en ting i verden, var svaret egen jord, så F. C. Polio kunne slippe for at betale husleje.

Efter Alhaji interviewede jeg; Alie, Gbassay, Abdulai, Hassan, Victor, Balmon og Mohammed. Alle svarede de på de samme spørgsmål, og jeg formåede at følge min interview ret tæt igennem alle interviews. Interviewene varede mellem 12 og 20 minutter, alt efter hvor meget den enkelte spiller talte selv. De var alle meget åbne om deres fortid, men vi have dog nogle sprogbarrierer. Nogle af spillerne er ikke så stærke på engelsk, og svarede derfor noget andet, end hvad jeg havde spurgt om. Er dog overbevist om, at jeg fik snørklet mig frem svarene. Heldigvis har jeg det hele på lyd, så jeg kan høre det igen.

Alahji
Alahji

Jeg var utroligt overrasket over, hvor voldsomme livshistorier, der gemmer sig bag det enkelte menneske. Eksempelvis Balmon, der mistede hele sin familie til ebolaen, og endda selv blev smittet men nåede at komme i behandling. En anden af gutterne, Alie, har fået hugget sin arm af, af rebellerne under borgerkrigen, da han var 3 år gammel. Året efter mistede han begge forældre i krigen. Selvom dette er voldsomme historier, så var noget af det, der undrede og overraskede mig mest, at de ikke blev særlig rørt, når de fortalte om deres bortkommende familie. Men Balmon fortalte at han ikke tænkte på dem mere, fordi de er et bedre sted, og de ikke er her mere, så må man hellere tænke fremad. Denne udtalelse kom helt bag på mig, og her kunne jeg virkelig mærke en kulturforskel. Jeg savner stadig min kat, der døde for 6 år siden, men de her gutter savner ikke deres afdøde mor og far? Det virker meget uforståeligt for mig, men hvis det er sådan, de håndterer deres tab og hårdheden i deres liv, kan man jo kun respektere det.

Alle gutterne blev interviewet direkte efter hinanden, de stod nærmest i kø. Og træner Vidal sørger altid for, lige at råbe til dem, at de skulle tage mobilen tættere på munden, når de snakkede.

Vidal nåede også at spørge, om jeg ville spise med til frokost. Dette takkede jeg dog pænt nej til, da jeg egentlig havde pakket egen frokost, og så slet ikke var sulten.

Efter interviewet med Mohammed kom Vidal over til mig, og satte sig i den anden plastik stol, Alhaji kom ligeledes over, og holdt os med selskab. Og i baggrunden stod Abdulai og snakkede lidt med. Vi snakkede om alt muligt forskelligt – at de gerne vil til DK, at det sner i DK, at jeg har visum for at komme til Sierra Leone, at jeg ville komme igen i morgen, at det snart blev regnvejr. Vidal fortalte ligeledes at klubben ønskede eget land, så man ikke skulle betale husleje, så mon han har påvirket gutterne til at sige det, i deres individuelle interviews? Det finder jeg nok aldrig ud af.

Både Vidal og Alhaji begyndte at tale om, at de gerne ville have en bog ”the story of F. C. Polio”, hvilket var meget pudsigt, da jeg netop i går sagde til Cecilie, at det feltarbejde jeg laver nu, kunne blive en fed e-bog. Det er jo desværre så hammer dyrt at få trygt en egentlig bog. Mon hun har delt ideen, det kunne jeg næsten ikke forestille mig. Men det var i hvert fald pudsigt. Og meget morsomt at de ønsker sig en bog om dem.

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Da det så ud til at blive voldsom regn, besluttede jeg at vende næsten hjem ad ved 14-tiden. Vidal fulgte mig til Jui Junction på vejen hjem, og sørgede for at jeg kom ind i en taxa den rette vej. Alt gik fint hjem, og jeg følte mig fint tilpas. Jeg er faktisk klar til at tage alene dertil i morgen.

Jeg aftalte med Vidal at jeg kommer derned selv i morgen, og at jeg tager tidligt hjemmefra (dvs. kl.9-10). Hjemme i huset var jeg den eneste hjemme, hvilket egentlig var meget rart. Lige at få lidt ro. Jeg gik ind med mine værdigenstande, og tog op til tanken for at hæve penge. Det gik også fint, og jeg fik vinket til en masse mennesker på vejen. Føler mig mere og mere tryg her i byen

21. oktober – interviews med F. C. Polio spillerne

I dag havde jeg aftalt med Vidal, at jeg skulle komme ud og lave de sidste par interviews, med de spillere der bor i huset. Det var dog kun tre, der manglede.

Jeg inviterede de andre frivillige med, hvor Buster og Lasse gerne ville med ud og sige hej. Hvilket var meget rart, så jeg ikke skulle tage det offentlige transport alene hernede. Turen derud gik rigtig fint, og vi legede mange sjove lege. Det er drengene gode til, hvilket er super fedt. dsc_1256

Da vi kom derud med taxa stod Vidal og ventede på os. Som de andre gange tog vi først ned forbi shoppen, for at sige hej til de gutter, som var på arbejde dernede. Herefter tog vi hen til huset, hvor gutterne allerede stod samlet under træet. De smilede og vinkede da vi kom, og vi fik alle givet hånd til alle.

Vidal spurgte om vi skulle begynde med det samme, hvilket vi gjorde. Igen blev to plastik stole sat om i skyggesiden af huset, og første spiller kom hen og satte sig. Jeg fulgte den præcise procedure, som sidst. Jeg bad hver spiller skrive sit navn i min notesbog, så jeg var sikker på, at det blev stavet korrekt – og så jeg selv kunne lære navnene at kende.

Imens jeg interviewede, sad Buster og Lasse og snakkede med gutterne ved den rustne bil under træet.

De tre interviews gik rigtig godt, der var dog en af gutterne, der talte så lavt, at jeg næsten ikke kunne høre hvad han sagde, og derfor fik lidt svært ved at koncentrere mig. Heldigvis talte han direkte ind i mikrofonen på min iPhone optager, så måske er det okay, når man hører lydfilen.

Af de tre interview personer i dag, husker jeg bedst Andrew, da han virkede til at føle sig rigtig godt tilpas under interviewet, og virkede som værende mest sig selv. Han fortalte meget levende omkring sin ulykke, der resulterede i han måtte få sit ben amputeret. Havde jeg mere tid, ville jeg gerne lave et mere dybdegående interview med ham.

Alie, Andrew & Vidal
Alie, Andrew & Vidal

Det tog ikke mere end en time at interview alle tre spillere, og derefter bar jeg og Vidal plastik stolene hen til den rustne bil under træet, hvor de andre gutter stod og snakkede. De kom alle sammen hen, og jeg takkede dem mange gange for, at de ville fortælle mig deres historie, og de var så åbne over for mig. De klappede, hvilket jeg blev lidt forlegen over. De er simpelthen så skønne mennesker alle sammen. Efter vi havde siddet i stolene i en halv times tid, og snakket om lidt af hvert, så var stemningen til, at vi skulle bevæge os videre igen. Vi tog en rigtig bus på vejen hjem mod Jui, hvilket var helt underligt. Og så tog vi en taxa fra Jui hjem.

I morgen lørdag skal bruges på, at forberede interviews for de resterende gutter på søndag. Søndag bliver rigtig travl, da der kommer helt vildt mange spillere. Men jeg glæder mig.

Tirsdag d. 25. oktober – interview med Vidal

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Vidal

I dag havde jeg aftalt med Vidal over telefon, at jeg kunne komme og interviewe ham. Det var et interview jeg havde set meget frem til at lave, da jeg jo godt kendte noget af historien bag F. C. Polio, som han jo selv har stiftet. Jeg tog selv herud denne gang, hvilket gik helt fint. Der var ingen problemer i det, selvom en taxa fik lidt mere end han burde, men det handlede jo kun om 5-6 danske kroner, så det går jo nok alt sammen.

Som altid ventede Vidal på mig i shoppen, hvor jeg også fik sagt hej til en masse af gutterne. Vi gik igen ned til huset, hvor vi satte os det samme sted, hvor jeg havde interviewet alle de andre. En af gutterne hentede os to plastik stole, og så gik vi ellers i gang med interviewet med det samme.

Jeg havde på forhånd fortalt Vidal, at jeg ville interviewe ham i længere tid, end jeg havde med spillerne, og det var han helt med på. Interviewet varede en lille times tid, og det var en helt fantastisk oplevelse for mig. Selvom jeg godt kendte til historien om, hvordan han havde startet F. C. Polio, blev jeg utrolig rørt af, at høre hans fortælling kronologisk, og høre om hvordan han med sin egen løn købte bolde, trøjer og mad til nogle af spillerne, så de kunne være med til træning. Han er utvivlsomt et af de mest ekstraordinære mennesker, jeg har været så heldig at møde. Tænk, hvis der fandtes flere mennesker som ham i denne verden. Jeg var helt opslugt af hans historie, og blev derfor helt revet ud af den, hver gang han havde fortalt færdigt, og jeg skulle spørge om næste spørgsmål. I korte træk gennemgik vi hans barndom, hans stiftelse af F. C. Polio og holdets fremtid. Da jeg spurgte ham, hvad han ville ønske sig, hvis han kunne få et hvilket som helst ønske opfyldt, svarede han et komfortabelt hjem, så han havde sikret sin familie, når han selv var væk en dag.dsc_0002

Efter vores interview sad vi lidt sammen med nogle af spillerne og snakkede, og jeg legede lidt med Vidals to små børn. De synes min tatovering på armen er utroligt fascinerende, så den brugte de lang tid på at røre ved. Efter at havde været i Waterloo i et par timer, tog jeg hjem til fant huset igen, og hørte interviewet igennem endnu en gang. Vidals historie bliver utvivlsomt det første portræt, jeg skriver.

Fredag d. 28. oktober – interview med de sidste spillere

I dag tog jeg fra Tokeh (stranden) ud til Waterloo, hvor jeg skulle interviewe de sidste to spillere fra holdet. Oprindeligt var det også meningen at F. C. Polio skulle spille kamp, hvor to af mine nye lokale veninder skulle med. Mine lokale veninder syntes projektet var så interessant, at de enormt gerne ville med og se dem, så de blev en kende skuffede, når jeg fortalte at kampen desværre var blevet aflyst. Den blev aflyst fordi de mennesker, der ejer banen, skulle bruge den til noget andet i stedet for kampen, og der var ikke en alternativ bane, hvor de kunne spille. Den bane der ”hører til” F. C. Polios hus, og dermed er deres hjemmebane, ejes af den lokale skole, og kan derfor kun bruges om søndagen, når børnene ikke er i skole.

De sidste to interview gik helt fint, og jeg fik endnu to unikke, triste og samtidig fascinerende historier. Jeg er simpelthen så overrasket over, at alle spillerne er så åbne omkring deres historier. Det er så vildt, at de åbner så meget op for en totalt fremmed. Jeg tror ikke selv, jeg ville være så åben ved et interview. Men heldigvis er de, og det gør mit ”job” meget lettere og langt mere interessant. Hvor heldig er jeg, at kunne møde så fantastiske mennesker, og få æren af at fortælle deres historie.

Da det regnede under mine interviews, måtte vi trække inden for. Vi sad derfor i et rum, der blev brugt til at opbevare hjemmelavede mursten, så de ikke blev ødelagt af regnen. Rummet var i og for sig helt fint, men desværre var lyset rigtig dårligt, og deres billeder blev derfor ikke gode. Jeg har aldrig tænk over, at mørk hud selvfølgelig skal bruge andet lys end min blege hud, når der skal tages fuldkropsbilleder. Portrætterne blev heldigvis rigtig gode. Lydfilerne af interviewene er dog lidt sløret, da regnen overdøver både mig og de to, der blev interviewet.

dsc_1101Da begge interview var over, ville jeg gerne sige tak til de af gutterne, der var tilstede i huset, da jeg var der. De samlede sig i den lille gård i huset, og jeg sagde et meget følelsesladet tak. De var selv meget taknemmelige. Gbassey spurgte mig, om jeg kunne hans navn – hvortil jeg svarede, at jeg kan stave til det, men simpelthen ikke udtale det. De grinte alle sammen. Heldigvis kunne jeg alle navnene, på dem jeg sagde tak til. De håber alle på at se mig igen, og byder mig et åbent velkommen tilbage til Sierra Leone. Det var utroligt rørende, og jeg får endda en smule tårer i øjnene, når jeg skriver disse ord. Vidal fulgte mig op til vejen igen, hvor mine veninder hentede mig. Da jeg skulle sige farvel til ham, blev det med et ordentligt kram og halvvåde øjne. Tænk, en sådan fantastisk uselvisk mand eksisterer – og så under så fattige vilkår. Verden kunne lære af Vidal. Han er et eksempel uden lige.

På vejen hjem i bilen spurgte pigerne ind til, hvorfor kampen var aflyst, og de spurgte, hvornår de så kunne se en sådan kamp. Zainab (veninde 1) fik Vidals nummer, og kan på den måde kontakte ham, for senere at ville se en kamp. Zainab arbejder som model, og er gift med en dansk mand, så hun er bedre stillet end de fleste Sierra Leonske mennesker, og hun vil gerne gøre noget godt for F. C. Polio. Vi snakkede om, hvad det kunne være, og blev enige om, at holdet ville blive glade for vand ved næste kamp, og måske nogle ris, så de kan få lidt mere mad end vanligt. Hun er godt nok også et smukt menneske.

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Lørdag d. 29. oktober – Et indblik i livet på handicaphjem i Freetown

I dag to Erik Rasmussen mig med ud til et handicaphjem, der ligger i centrum af Freetown. Her bor flere af holdet spillere, og de stod endda ude foran, da vi ankom til hjemmet. Alle omkring spillerne samt Erik og jeg, kiggede noget da vi sagde goddag til hinanden. Ibrahim, der blandet andet er døv, blev ude foran huset og kiggede efter vores motorcykel, og Alajhi, kaptajnen for F. C. Polio, viste os rundt inde i huset. John sluttede sig hurtigt til. Huset var i flere etager, og så udefra meget fint ud. Men så kom man indenfor.. Jeg tog ingen billeder af dette besøg, da billeder var det sidste i mine tanker, da jeg blev vist rundt. Set i bakspejlet, burde jeg nok have taget kameraet op af tasken, for bedre at kunne vise, hvordan de lever.

Husets gange var snævre mellem 30-60 cm. Toiletterne var ikke rigtige toiletter, som vi kender dem. Det var toiletkummer, der stod på nogle klinker. Uden bræt og udskyl. Og det jeg gik rundt i, da jeg så toiletterne, har utvivlsomt været urin fra de omkring 200-250 mennesker, der bor i huset. Der var seks toiletkummer, hvoraf to virkede fik jeg at vide. Håndvask var ingen steder at finde.

Daniel også kendt som Messi
Daniel også kendt som Messi

”Køkkenet” lå ved siden af toiletterne, og var små bål, hvorpå der blev forberedt ris med fiskesovs af bestyrens kone, en meget venlig og smilende kvinde.

Alajhi og bestyren viste os rundt, og vi så nogle forskellige menneskers værelser. Mine første tanker var ingen. Der var tomt af chok i mit hoved. Jeg kunne næsten ikke tage indtrykkene til mig, da det virkede for kummerligt til at være sandt. Huset var inden i indrettet med noget aluminium tagplade værk, som dannede små rum i de større rum. De små rum har været 2×1 meter, John beskrev dem i sit interview som værende ”one person rooms”, ingen beskrivelse har været så underdrevet. Mit tøjskab er større end et værelse, hvor en hel familie bor. Det sætter virkelig tingene i relief. Nogle rum havde vindue, andre var efterladt i mørke. På første sal var der et ”stort” rum, på omkring 20m2, hvor alle børnene sover om aftenen. Her bliver lagt små skummadrasser (der lugtede af mug) ud på gulvet, og så sover der mellem 30-50 børn fik jeg at vide. Tænk engang, 30-50 børn på samme plads, som et barn gerne har i DK. Det er utroligt, at mennesker lever under sådanne vilkår. Jeg fik vist Alajhis værelse, som han deler med sine to brødre. De havde et ”flot” værelse, idet deres ene væg er huset egentlige væg, og de har fået vinduet, så der var dejlig lyst. Herudover er de andre vægge i værelset konstrueret med træbrædder, så det virkede mere som et værelse, end mange af de andre.

Hele besøget varede i alt knap en halv time, men var mere en bare en øjenåbner. Det gav mig følelsen af, at jeg bliver nødt til at gøre noget, folk kan ikke leve sådan, hvordan kan jeg indsamle penge nok, til at de kan få et mere anstændigt liv, og ikke leve under så kummerlige forhold. Jeg søger at drage en parallel, men det kan jeg ikke engang, måske koncentrationslejre, men så alligevel ikke. Parallel eller ej, de mennesker fortjener bedre.

Med de indtryk kan jeg nu påbegynde skriveprocessen, og få fortalt spillernes historier. Hvilket eventyr.

Et par af spillerne, sammen med træner Vidals søn Abdul, der fint repræsenterer Danmark
Et par af spillerne, sammen med træner Vidals søn Abdul, der fint repræsenterer Danmark

Reunion and new experiences in Kraków


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Beautiful Kraków, this city was the setting for my reunion with my flatmate from Australia. After not having seen each other we were finally reunited. She lives in England and I in Denmark therefore we knew we needed to travel to see one another which is why we decided to meet up in a country which we both wanted to explore, and the choice was Kraków. For four days we had a blast reminiscing and exploring the city and its surrounding areas.

I traveled straight from Warsaw to Kraków by train. And I do have a little tip for all of you in that regard: during summer season there is a train called “dragon” that goes directly between Warsaw and Kraków daily and it only costs 40 zloty (polish money). The train worked out well and to be honest I’ve never been on such a nice 2. class train before!DSC_0644

So what to do in Kraków?

As I tend to be very structured when I travel and often buy a Lonely Planet book for my destination, I already knew there were certain things I wanted to see in Kraków. But the actual reason for our choice of destination was not the cheap food and living cost (even though that was a great bonus!) but the fact that we both felt we needed to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau at some point in our lives and therefore decided to go there together. The trip the two concentration camps were a very awakening experience which I will write a in depth post about later. This post will be more on the happy note about things to do in beautiful Kraków.

  1. Free walking tour! The free walking tour foundation gave us an amazing – and completely free – walking tour through out the Jewish quarter of Kraków, which is one of the eldest in the world. The guides are all locals who knows the city well and speak perfect English – I almost felt embarrassed by my danish/australian-accent. The tour lasted for 2,5 hours including a coffee break and ended at the famous Schindler’s factory. Our guide’s name was Alicja – and this is a shout out to her, for an amazing tour! DSC_0673
  2. Schindler’s factory. We all know the Spielberg’s movie “Schindler’s list” from 1993 which is an amazing story of a humanist saving 1100 Jewish lives. But what is fact and fiction in the film? Get the answers by doing a combination of the free walking tour and a visit to the factory which today has been turned into an amazing museum. As an ethnologist I do visit a lot of museums and I must admit that Schindler’s factory made a true impression on me. The museums is not all glass montres with museum artefacts but countless environments that you experience with all your senses. A must see – even for people not keen on museums.
  3. Wieliczka salt mines. Approximately one hour outside Kraków this magnificent saltmine is located. Having been in use for nearly 600 year it has a lot of history and many stories to tell. The mine is 9 levels deep which adds up to about 360meters (if I remember correctly from the guided tour). Inside the mine living arrangements have been made in form of stable for the horses which was transported down into the mines and many many chapels so that the workers could pray for a good day at work. One of these chapels isn’t even a chapel but a church that every sunday holds a mess for catholics.DSC_0722
  4. Auschwitz-Birkenau. A more detailed post will be up very soon!
  5. Enjoy the riverside. At the southern part of Kraków near the castle the beautiful river runs, and the area beside the river is green, beautiful and filled with life. Bring a book, buy a coffee and get comfortable for a couple of hours of people watching – especially in tourist season! DSC_0634
  6. Browse through the market at Rynek Główny. The massive main square of Kraków is filled with people, restaurants and shopping possibilities. Within the market building located in the middle of the square there are numerous cute little stores which offers things you didn’t even know you need. DSC_0625
  7. The pharmacy museum. So this one might sound super nerdy but as my friends know I have grown up doctor parents and my dad have always had an interest for history, which I have been smitten with. Because of this interest I always visit medicine and pharmacy museums and the one in Kraków is very impressive indeed. It is one of the biggest pharmacy collections in Europe, and worth a look – even if you do not fancy museums.

DSC_0630This was just a few ideas of what to do in Kraków. The city is filled with amazing restaurants with food at amazing prices, and besides the restaurants there are countless bars and clubs – so if you are looking for a cheap place with great nightlife, then Kraków could be a very good choice for you!

As we only had four days in Kraków we didn’t get to explore the surrounding areas of Kraków or the beautiful nature which lies around the city. When I return I plan on visiting the mountains and go hiking. Have you ever been to Kraków? Are there things I haven’t mentioned, that I should go visit again? Thanks for reading!

//Laura

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Warsaw – the phenix city

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Having been in Warsaw for three days I thought it was about time I shared a bit of my experience from this beautiful phenix like city. I refer to Warsaw as a phenix as this city’s history simply is astonishing. Besides having a history of countless wars and occupations, this city’s center – the old town – was completely destroyed during the final months of the German occupation in the second world war. In August 1944 Warsaw uprising took place. Warsaw uprising is the name of the Polish people’s mission to gain back their city. The anti-nazi underground home army in Poland planned an attack on German soldiers occupying the capital which they did on August 1st 1944. They got the city center back in control but unfortunately they didn’t gain control over all the ways into the city center – the bridge, railway stations or airport. Because of this the Germans launched a counter attack in September and killed thousands of Polish people – and as a final salute, they bombed the city and left the old town in complete ruins. This photograph below is taking inside the Royal Castle’s exhibition and shows what the city looked like in 1947. The photo above shows how the city looks today.

Warsaw after the second world war. Photo from the Royal Castles exhibition
Warsaw after the second world war. Photo from the Royal Castles exhibition

As the post war photo shows there was nothing left in the old town. What happened after the war really amazed me and left me with great respect to the Polish people. They rebuilt the city from its ruins – without any help. The Polish people paid a high tax in the years after the war and these tax money became the founds that made it possible to rebuild the capital. Even though Germany offered to help finance the building project the proud Polish people declined the offer and did everything themself. The cleaning of the old bricks took five years and after that the rebuilding of the old town square and the surrounding streets took an additional five years. The old town was rebuild to look almost exactly like it did before world war two, which is why today peopleDSC_0546 (including myself) have been fooled to believe it was truly old. In the 1970s the Royal Castle (which is more like a palace) was recreated as well. Today it has been decorated with items true to its time but nothing within it’s walls are the original interior. With the Old Town rebuilt travellers like myself can enjoy the beauty of Warsaw’s heart – and when you get to know the history, I actually think that the Old Town is even more fascinating. The city of Warsaw really is the phenix city.

DSC_0558Everywhere you go in the Old Town the houses are beautifully colored and decorated. In the old market square stands the Mermaid of Warsaw, who was suppose to protect the city agains all evil (which she didn’t do very well during the second world war?). The old town is filled with tourist attractions in form of the typical overpriced semi-bad restaurants, ice cream stands and souvenir shops. But besides this adaption to tourist there are many hidden gems within the Old Town in the form of museums, free guided city walks and local restaurants – if you go outside the old city walls.

Everyday during my stay I’ve visited a couple of museums as they alway appeal to my inner nerd. I’ve spent my 3 days walking about 20 kilometers a day within the old town, the parks, the museums and back to my hostel. I can only say, that Warsaw truly impresses me! Tomorrow is my last day here and I plan to visit the old prison, the national museum and do two walking tours. And on Sunday – Krakow, Imogen and more adventures are waiting! I’ll keep you posted – and thanks for reading along!

//Laura

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Colorful streets of Old Town
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The entrance to the Old Town
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Warsaw Uprising Monument
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The Palace on the Isle
Modern city center of Warsaw
Modern city center of Warsaw
Me - fitting right into the royal vibe of the pavilion to the Palace on the Isle
Me – fitting right into the royal vibe of the pavilion to the Palace on the Isle

Getting ready for Poland!

So today has been a super stressful and very busy day. I’ve been working all day and the minute I got home, I had to pack my bag for Poland. I must admit that by now I’ve been packing countless pieces of lugguage for countless travels so I do have DSC_0410some experience. But still my home looks like this (right photo) whenever I start packing. I always think about what goes with what, so I make sure that all the stuff I bring will match. To do this I pretty much empty my closet on my couch and play a game of mix and match – and by the end I always end up having to do a lot of cleaning up. But that is probably never going to change.. Even though I made a mess I managed to pack my backpack in about 30 minutes.

As you see in the second photo I’m travling very light. For the next 12 days my essentials fit within a 30L bag. This is including a computer, my very big camera, towels and additional shoes. Packing light is something I’ve gotten a lot better at within the last couple of years. When I travelled in my teen years I always filled a giant backpack with a lot of stuff I didn’t really need but liked to bring with me. But now I’ve gotten way past that point where I need stuff to feel secure when I travel which has led me to bringing less and less with me. Luckily! In the beginning I started to pack light to save the check in bag on the plane ticket but now I’m doing it in spite of having luggage included in my ticket. It simply is easier to have a small bag with you at all times. Or so I think.

A reunion trip!

I’ve been planing this trip to Poland for months now which is a little unusual for me, as I normally am very spontaneous and IMG_0858book my trips a short time before I go. But because I’ve know about this trip for months I’ve had the possibility to research Poland’s history and culture and I’ve planed what places I do not want to miss. Which is super exciting and has given me a lot to look forward to – besides being reunited with my roommate from Australia, Imogen. 

I havn’t seen Imogen since she left Melbourne nearly 14 months ago and I can’t wait to see her. But there are still a couple of days before I get to see her. Tomorrow I am leaving for Warsaw to explore the city on my own. For a long time now I’ve enjoyed to travel on my own and on this trip I combine a solo travel and a friend getaway.

We decided to meet up in Krakow as we both wanted to see the city and experience the history it holds – and because we knew that we had to fly to see one another. So we found it to be a perfect reunion to go on an adventure together!

So what will we be doing in beautiful Poland? Well according to our current plans we will visit Auschwitz and Birkenau, the Salt Mines outside Krakow and explore what Krakow itself has to offer. Hopefully I can lore her into some of the amazing museums located in Krakow. In Warsaw I havn’t made many plans yet besides visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum. As a museum geek I might spend a day or two exploring the various museums of the Polish capital.

I am beyond excited for my first visit to Poland! Do you have any advice? Any restaurants to go to, any sight to see or places I shouldn’t bother visiting? Please let me know – travel tips are always much appreciated!

//Laura

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Late night blogging after finished packing.

Travel friends: Long distance friendship and yet some of the closest you will ever get

Alex and I met in Hong Kong
Alex and I met in Hong Kong

After many years of traveling I’ve been so lucky to meet numerous amazing people around the world. And today I’m even more lucky to be able to call some of these people my closest friends. Having been traveling more or less on my own since I was 15 I’ve gathered quite the network of people around the world and – even better – I have friends in every corner of the world, from Australia to the US.

Imogen and I were flatmates in Melbourne
Imogen and I were flatmates in Melbourne

For me one of the biggest perks of traveling is not only to see the beauty in the world but also to meet the amazing people with whom we share it with. Today some of my closest friends lives in England, and I’ve met them as I explored the world with my backpack. While living in Spain I made amazing friendships with 3 other Danes who lives in the other end of the country as well as other beautiful people still living in Spain. During my first solo trip to Central America I met a person that has come to be if not the most important than one of the most important persons of my life. Many times when I’m reminiscing my travels I remember the people before the places. No one can say that people does not impact your travels.

When you meet while travling you get to start over. You get a friendship with a fresh start. You get to know each other from scratch which, to me, is amazing. When you travel you get to lose the person “you are suppose to be” at home – the nice girl who gets good grades and always go running. No pasts are present unless you want to share it. It is just you and the new people you meet along the way. I am not saying you forget your past but you get to decide how it is going to affect your future relations with new people.

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Me, Maria and Jacob – two of the three danes I lived with in Madrid

As you travel you get to know all the different sides to a person. Does he gets mad when he’s hungry? Is she stupid while being drunk? Is she annoying when going for a walk, or does he have a negative energy? Getting to know the new person in different situations gives you the opportunity to really know the other person. And know if you feel a connection with them or they are just plain out annoying. You also get know if that person truly is a friend when you survive a horrible food poisoning or a crazy shark dive together. Can you be along side them while traveling without developing a slight annoyance with their behaviour – you have a true friend.

I began writing this piece as I one day were looking through my facebook photos – almost all of them are from travels around the world, and they are all filled with people who have become dear to me. And then it hit me. Most of the people I have around me in my everyday life are people I’ve met while travling. Not all my friendships are created from travels but great deal of them are. To my travel friends are like a long distance friendship, you met abroad so you are not used to have each other in your “normal” everyday routine so you do not miss them in that sense. And then when you see each other your days are often filled with stuff you must do, places needed to be explored and food that needs trying(!).

A long distance friendship are surprisingly not that hard to keep. You don’t have to talk everyday to be close friends. The important part is that when you do talk – nothing has changed, you are still you and you are having a blast in each others company. That is why I consider travel friendships as some of the closest ones you will ever get. But this is just me, do you have a different point of view?

//Laura

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Mai and I. This photo was takin in Bali, but we first met each other back in 2011 in Honduras.

How to travel while being a poor student?

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Yes, you read that title correctly. Today I will share with you my secrets to saving a lot of money while being at home taking care of my education so I can travel the world – which, let’s be honest, is my real passion. So I’ve gathered my best tips on how to save money at home.

  1. Stop buying clothes, shoes, bags etc. etc. This one is especially for the ladies. It is very tempting to go shopping every time a pay check finds its way to you, but try to resist and put aside the money instead. You will be surprised how much money you safe when you stop buying new items for the wardrobe.
  2. Buy on sale. If you really need something try to look for it on sale. There is a lot of money to be saved by looking both in stores and online for the season sales.

    A typical outfit for me. Which all in all cost me €67 including my bag and watch.
    A typical outfit for me. Which all in all cost me €67 including my bag and watch.
  3. Be picky! Say to yourself “do I really need this?!” often you buy stuff because it is nice. But continuously ask yourself, do I really need another black and white patterend shirt (talking to myself here!). When you buy (on sale) you must still be extremely critical and picky. Only buy when you really need something.
  4. Go without a new phone, computer, iPad and so on. If your old computer works – why get a new? Save the money it will most likely be money enough for a weekend get away. If/when your phone breaks down and you really need a new one, don’t go out and buy the newest model go for the second newest, or a less popular brand of phone.
  5. Skip public transport. Unless you live far away from your destination, say work or uni, grab your bike and save the money for public transport – and get some exercise at the same time!
  6. Find roommates! To save some money on boring things like rent, gas and electricity find a place with flatmates who can help split the bill with you.
  7. Think about what you eat. This is the one I use the most. When I have a certain travel in mind which I am saving for, I always cut back on my food budget. And I cut a lot back. I finish everything from my freezer and cabinets, I eat a lot of oats and other cheap meals. Being a really good savings month (a so called “boring food month”) I can cut my budget to 100-120€ (which isn’t a lot in Denmark!).
  8. Stop going out. This one is to me the worst one. Stop going to cafes, bars and restaurants – or where ever you enjoy spending your free time (unless they are super cheap or free!).Instead of meeting your friends at a cafe meet them at a nice spot in town with a coffee and have a walk, or meet up at each others places. This isn’t always as fun but it will save you money.
  9. Bring food with you. Are you going to be gone for an entire day, working, at uni or just around and about bring a packed lunch/meal for when the hunger hits you. This way you have your food the second you are hungry, you save money and you can even prevent those “I’m so hungry I need a snickers asap”-moments.
  10. Quit the gym and work out at home and outside, especially when it is the summer season or if you live in a warmer climate.

So there you go – my top 10 advice on how to save money whilst being a poor university student. Of course all people can use these tips you don’t need to be a student. Even though saving money can seem easy while creating a list like this, it takes a lot of strength to keep saving all the time. A good way to go about it is to create a budget, where you also have a post on what you have saved so far. This can help keep you motivated when you third night in a row are eating oats.

All my saving tips being said – don’t forget to enjoy yourself but have your priorities in mind. Make up your mind if the newest iPhone is more important than a weekend getaway to London.

Do you have more hacks to saving money? Please do share them in a comment below!

//Laura

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University and a traveller’s heart?

My home - Nyhavn, Copenhagen. A very enchanting place to be, all year around
My old home – Nyhavn, Copenhagen. A very enchanting place to be, all year around

It is no secret that I have a traveller’s heart, a heart filled with an urge to go explore this world. At the same time I have a voice in my head telling me to get an education. If is my own voice or the voice of Western society I can’t really tell anymore but which ever voice is talking I chose to listen to it four years ago. I’d spent two years traveling after high school and felt I needed to begin my university degree, even though I would mostly have liked to follow my heart and travel further.

I previously wrote a post where I argue that traveling has been my best education. This post was written more than a year ago but is still true as ever. Even though I argue that traveling and exploring the world is the best education, I still chose to apply to university. In the summer of 2015 I finished my bachelor degree and began my masters degree both in ethnology, closely related to anthropology. I do find the new information incredible interesting and I do like that fact that I have become smarted, and I have explored and expanded my own knowledge. As I find myself getting wiser at university my heart is getting more anxious to return to the real world outside of uni. Therefore I always end up hating my everyday routines and missing my travels.  So why do I stay in uni, you might wonder. And sometimes I do wonder the exact same thing. I’ve come to the conclusion that I feel safer for my future if I have a universal degree with me.

Although I know my future is more secure with a degree I often catch myself thinking “and so what”. Many times my restless feet wants me to drop out of uni and go explore, live out of a backpack and pick up on my spanish skills. I’ve managed to combine my two very opposite lifestyles by doing shorter travels during the time I have classes at uni, and I even got to do exchange in Melbourne for six months. I often bring my travels into my field of study, and I use my knowledge from my travels within my work at university and my knowledge from university when I travel. 9EFF49CA-E5C0-4F2D-A783-2A6BB575F836

So I basically go to uni and I travel whenever I can. When I am at home in Copenhagen I study and I work, work a lot to save money for traveling. My everyday pretty much ends up in a routine revolving about uni, reading and work. And in between that I squeeze my boyfriend, friends and exercise. So my everyday is pretty busy but I actually like that. I like not being still for too long. But as my everyday in Copenhagen is so busy I tend to forget to keep my blog posted. (sorry!) Sometimes my restless feet gets the better of me and I have a smaller break down for being caught in the university world – when this happens I immediately look for plane tickets to see what’s on sale, or I book a trip to see my mom or my dad. It is a struggle for me to keep grounded in Copenhagen as I often feel my life is slipping away as I just study and work.

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As a part of my latest project at uni I was spending a day at the archive at the national museum of Denmark.

All that being said – I have been spending the last couple of years exploring my own little country of Denmark, which has been a lot of fun and has been a way to help my restless feet to stay in school. And luckily for me my field of study in uni does not have many classes pr week (6 hours pr week) which enables me to travel during the school year without missing a lot of school.

So to sum up – I wish I was traveling all year long but to protect myself in the future I stick it out and stay in school, at least until my masters degree is done! Now you might wonder how a student can afford all these travels? Well stay tuned, right now I am working on the next post about just that subject, how to travel while being a poor student. If you have any good advice for this post, please do share them with me and the readers of the blog!

//Laura

When your parents lives abroad

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Today I will share some very personal information about me and my family life. I will tell you about the best and the worst things about having parents who lives abroad. When I tell people that my mom lives in Stockholm, Sweden and my dad lives in Vence, France they often get very surprised, and many times they have a look of sorrow on their face. It is like they are saying “poor you are left behind” but that is not how I feel. As I’ve dedicated this blog to travel tales, tips and tricks I’ve chosen to tell this story, as living abroad is a part of a travellers life.

Having one parent living abroad has been a reality for me for about 2 years, since my Dad moved to France in 2014. He even prepared my brother and I that he was moving already 3 years prior the moving date. So we had some time to get used to the idea. Then something new happened as 2015 became 2016. My mom also moved out of the country, she moved to Sweden. Then suddenly I found myself without any parents living in my home country. Now I have to jump on a plane and to schedule when I’m gonna visit my mom or dad. At first I got a little mad at my parents for leaving, even though I was the one starting the leaving with all my travels and living abroad. I had so many mixed feelings by being “left” back in Denmark, as my parents have moved abroad. But in all my crankiness I stopped and wondered: what is the positive things within this situation?

The best things about having parents living abroad is of course; you get to travel a lot! As I love to travel this is a big plus for me. Besides this you end up knowing your way around multiple cities and have the opportunity to become a local in various places. You get to know people, make new friends around the world and understand another culture. All experiences that I truly value.

Another bonus is that you can leave your home, for my instant Copenhagen, if the weather is dull, your friends are on holiday or is you need some peace from your everyday life. I recently did this – I did a road trip with my dad from Denmark to France, as he was headed home by car. I brought all the books needed for my uni work and ran off to France for some peace and quite. And it worked! Being in another atmosphere without the stress I managed to finish my exam 2 days before the “due date”. So to me the chance for a study break is great because.

Also you get to become a local at multiple places around the world. Being a local, as I interprent it, means knowing your surroundings, know where is the best coffee, where not to go, where is the best running route. Knowing people, saying hi to your friends around you. Becoming a local, to me, means having a home. If you are a local at multiple places, you will have multiple homes – and this is just wonderful.IMG_0448

On top of the very exotic, fun and adventures plus sides to having parents who lives abroad there are also a series of negatives sides to the matter. I for one miss my parents a lot, and it is difficult to not being able to stop by for dinner or meet one of my parents for a lunch in the city. The planning part of spending time with them makes it hard some times. You can end up feeling a bit “left behind” at times but then I always remember that I started moving abroad my self, so I do know why they chose to do so. And they are never further away than a plane can take me there in maximum 2 hours.

All in all I do like that I now can visit my parents in exotic new surrounding and when I do time is spent exploring my new homes.

Are your parents living abroad? Do you want to share your story? Leave a comment below!

//Laura

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When monotony takes over

Feeling most alive and happy by the sea. St. Martin 2016
Feeling most alive and happy by the sea. St. Martin 2016

As you can see, just by scrolling down to the previous post, it has been almost a year since I gave myself the time to tell my travel stories. But now I am trying to break out of my monotony everyday and I will start sharing my travel stories again. This post will be a very different one, as I am sharing my hardships throughout the last year or so.

I haven’t been staying in Denmark for all this time. I’ve visited Hong Kong, traveled through Vietnam with my love, celebrated New Years in the Caribbean with my family, been on a road trip through Ireland with my love, visited my mom and her new man in Sweden and soon I’m off to visit my dad in France. Besides all these amazing trips a lot has happened in my life this year. I came back from Australia and struggled a bit to find my ground in Copenhagen again. I was back at my old home and nothing had changed.

In Australia I finished by bachelors degree and in September I started my masters degree. The level of the master education really surprised me, and I had a hard time keeping up with the new – much higher – level at uni. At the same time I was super busy with uni I needed to find a job, so I could pay off my Australia debt (why does it have to be so expensive to live and travel there?!). I couldn’t get a job until december so I had to make due with very little money. On top of being another super poor student who had a hard time at uni, I got sick and developed some cysts in my nose which made it almost impossible to breathe through my nose. As this wasn’t enough I got kicked out of my home. This was probably the hardest punch for me as I truly loved my apartment and really felt it was my home. And every day I still miss my old apartment. Hopefully my next home will be just as much a home.

In december I celebrated christmas and new years with my mom and her new fiancee and his daughter. This has also been a major change in my life. Suddenly I have to share my mom, this is something I’ve never been used to. My parents got divorced when I was 6, I have been lucky enough to have my mom all to myself ever since. So having to share her, all of a sudden, took some getting used to. Luckily her new man is a really good one, and she is glowing with happiness. So I couldn’t be happier for her. And she even moved abroad for him! Now she is located in Stockholm, Sweden (while my dad is in Vence, France). I’m feeling lucky to have my parents in two amazing places of the world, making my home not just Copenhagen, but Copenhagen, Stockholm and Vence. I’m getting to be familiar with so many places around the world.

December was also the month when I finally got a new job, and a good one. I am now a student counselor with focus on studying abroad – which is fair to say I have a lot of experience with. So I am finally out of my aussie-debt and starting saving for new adventures.

In march me and my girlfriends held out version of the last supper at my old apartment and I moved out, and moved in with my grandparents instead. Not having any parents in the country was a bit of a struggle in the moving-matter. But now I am staying with my grandparents and I am enjoying my time with them. Who is so lucky to spent everyday with their grand mom and grand dad, while they are still here? I think that every day, and even though they live a bit outside the city, I enjoy it here.

Last update on the complex year is the surgery. As previously mentioned I had developed some cysts in my nose, making breathing almost impossible. As time went by – due to a very slow hospital system – it got worse. I got transferred to a private hospital and then things happened a lot quicker. 3 weeks ago I had my surgery in my nose, got my cysts removed and got my breathing back!! It was a horrible experience, and if you who’s reading this is thinking about a nose job, I would advise you not to! But after the surgery everything it lighting up, I can breathe better than ever before. My running is starting to get back on track, I am allowed to start my yoga practice once again and I was allowed to study part time this semester, so I would have time to recover well.

Through all this hassle in my life my boyfriend, my love, was always by my side. Through the anger of having to move, to frustrated phone calls about how shitty uni is, to the pain of all the changes I couldn’t control. This year has really let me to realize how amazing people is surrounding me in my everyday. And I feel truly blessed.

Love at Halong Bay in Vietnam
Love at Halong Bay in Vietnam

Tonight is my first night feeling energetic enough to write a post on my blog, which I have missed a lot during the year. And I have been feeling guilty of not having been writing. Now I am back on track and soon I will share travel tales and photos from all the amazing places I’ve been lucky enough to visit within the last year.

That took a very personal turn, be back soon with travel tales, tips and photos!
//Laura

A very happy and very English afternoon

 

The very happy face of very happy me being very happy and drinking amazing tea!
The very happy face of very happy me being very happy and drinking amazing tea!

DSC_0040Today I’ve spent my afternoon together with two English friends, being as English as possible: drinking tea from beautiful china and eating scones. And what a time we’ve had! Ever since I was at boarding school in England when I 15 years old, I have been very addicted to drinking tea and today was an extraordinary tea experience. A few months back I stumbled upon the Tea Salon in the Emporium in the CBD area of Melbourne and fell in love with the salon immediately. When I later the same day returned to my apartment and told my English roommate about it, we have been wanting to go – and today was that day.

All in, English style <3
All in, English style <3

As we came into the Tea Salon, my two English friends and I, we were welcomed and seated by a girl in a cute apron. As we got our menu we wondered why the tea wasn’t listed anywhere, but soon found out that it was because the tea had a menu of its own – of course. After placing our order we came to look around, and began noticing all the cute details in the interior design. As our tea came I was happy as could be, as the tea was served in the cutest china I’ve ever seen! I felt like a proper English woman in the beginning of the 19th hundreds, drinking of this beautiful china, and my excitement didn’t see no end when my scone arrived accompanied with cream and jam. As English as could be. We ended up staying for hours as we felt a need to try all the tea, and wished to have the money to try all the scones – and all the other dishes as well.

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To me the Tea Salon is a well kept Melbourne secret, you ought to visit once in Melbourne – if you are a tea addict or not. You can go for the scones alone! I am still full of excitement which clearly resulted in this blog post, a very untypical type of post for me. This place will without a doubt reach my top 10 Melbourne highlights, and will be a place that I will return to.

Do you have any suggestions for well kept Melbourne, or urban secrets? Please share!

/Laura

 

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I have died and gone to china heaven

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